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Dog Ear Infection Symptoms

Chandramita Bora Jul 31, 2020
Ear infections in dogs can cause inflammation and redness of the ear, along with a yellow and smelly discharge. Find out more about the causes, symptoms, and the treatment of this condition, through this story.
Being one of the common dog health problems, an ear infection can cause severe pain and inflammation of the ear. Ear infections can be of three types - otitis externa or an infection of the outer ear, otitis media or an infection of the middle ear, and otitis interna or an infection of the internal ear.
An external ear infection can be treated easily, and is usually not considered a serious condition. But infections of the middle and the internal ear can lead to some severe complications. If an infection of the internal ear spreads to the central nervous system, it can lead to some serious complications.

Causes of Canine Ear Infection

Several factors can be responsible for causing ear infections. Sometimes, an infection of the external ear can be caused by ear mites, or an excessive growth of bacteria and fungi or yeasts in the ear. Even food allergies, allergies to fleas, and a buildup of excessive earwax can cause canine ear infections.
Sometimes, water can enter the ear while swimming, and create a moist environment inside the ear, which is favorable for the proliferation of bacteria and fungi. Ear infections have been observed to be more common in certain dog breeds like the Cocker Spaniel, the reason being their floppy ears, and the presence of excess fur inside the ears.

Canine Ear Infection Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of an ear infection can vary considerably depending on the severity of the infection, and what part of the ear has been affected. As mentioned already, middle and internal ear infections are more severe in nature, and they usually produce more serious symptoms.
In general, the following signs and symptoms can be observed during an ear infection:
  • Redness or tenderness can be found to accompany this condition. Swelling and inflammation can also be present, along with a foul-smelling, yellow discharge.
  • Itching often compels the affected dog to scratch or rub the ears frequently. Itching can be an important indicator of a bacterial infection or the presence of ear mites.
  • Frequent head shaking and tilting can an indicator that the dog is trying to get rid of something in its ear. It could be anything from trapped objects like grass, to water, or excessive earwax produced during an ear infection.
  • If the infection spreads to the middle and the internal ear, then the dog may exhibit problems in balancing. Generally, a mild external ear infection does not cause balancing problems.

Canine Ear Infection Treatment

The treatment of this condition usually depends on the underlying causes. A mild ear infection can be treated by maintaining proper hygiene, and cleaning the affected ear with a disinfectant. If bacteria is the causative agent, then antibacterial ear drops can be required to cure the infection.
For treating fungal infections, antifungal ointments can be used. Along with these medications, some simple home remedies like apple cider vinegar and garlic can be used for treating ear infections. They can help inhibit bacterial and fungal growth in the ear. However, If the infection is severe in nature, then it is better to consult a veterinarian.
To prevent ear infections in the future, pet owner should be particular about maintaining general hygiene and regular ear cleaning. This is especially applicable for dogs that have floppy ears, and those that love to swim a lot.
However, while cleaning the ears, be sure avoid inserting the cotton buds deep inside the ear canal. Finally, be sure to trim the excess hair present in the ears regularly, so as to ensure proper ventilation and prevent a bacterial or fungal overgrowth in the ears.
Disclaimer: This story is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of a veterinarian.